He has been a Berlin staple for years and there was some word on the streets about some of these tricks. Now the moment is there and Nico put out his part. Great to see place family member Paul Röhrs in there too!
We made this video as a piece to go together with our very own Daniel Pannemann’s interview in the current issue of Free Skate Mag. It was in fact Free’s own Arthur Derrien that proposed the idea of a sort of takeover/collab.
In the end, Sara Parson Texas did the interview itself and I (Roland Hoogwater) got the chance to create this video together with our staff and some of our close associates/freelancers.
We hope you enjoy the work we put in for you all to enjoy and stay safe out there in these troubling times.
Last Saturday something happened, a group of people honored us with their presence, their good spirits & their bowling skills. Today we recap the magic of that night for you.
Photos by Danny Sommerfeld.
Text by Roland Hoogwater.
What happened? Well, we had one of our best events ever, from a slow start, where basically everyone turned up on time, which was a bit early (not expected at a skate event) to an electric final we have you, the Berlin skate scene to thank for making this what it was!
What it was? Well, a night of surprises. For instance, a very drunk Jack Taylor together with a driven Dan Clarke making it all the way to the finals. An amazing performance from Collin McLean who bowls with as much finesse as he skates. Mark Nickels who brought his own bowling ball and wore a bowling shirt (scare tactics) and bowled steadily for the entire night, in the end, coming up short because Berlin local and adidas skater Baswti kept racking them up and knocking them down like he had ice in his veins.
When we shot the trailer he wasn’t bowling like this we tell you! He did use his patented own was of throwing the ball but it seemed like in the 3-weeks between the shoot for the trailer and the actual event he had put in the work and at the end up the night took home the 300€ prize money. Congratulations Bawsti you earned it!
adidas Skateboarding thank you for helping us and making this happen, it was a magic evening for all in attendance, skater, and non-skater together knocking down those pins together.
First of all, we want to give a big thanks to Vans for supporting us and assisting in making the project happen. Secondly, thanks to Heiners for being a surefire location where we all feel welcome enough to be ourselves. And lastly, thank you to all the protagonists for not only putting your energy towards the project but also for shooting the recap to your own party. Cheers!
Photos by Julian Ruhe, Moritz Alte, Kalle Wiehn & Valle Cafuk.
Contrary to last year almost the whole PLACE staff traveled to arguably the best city in the world. But even though we were all in the same city, festival rules applied, which meant that within moments we lost each other and started doing our own thing. We all ended up at different events and safe for a few moments only saw each other at the plethora of parties that the CPH Open is host to.
It seemed everybody had a great time at every single event but our highlight was definitely the Levi’s event which looked rained out at first but ended up saving our lives by offering us a boat ride, good food, cold drinks and a very hot but healthy sauna experience!
We wish we could say “See you next year!” but the organizers felt that it was time for a break. So we will end it by saying, enjoy Paule’s photo recap and see you at the next Copenhagen Open.
Photos by Paul Röhrs
Text by Roland Hoogwater
It has been a while since a Skateboard Magazine from Europe released a full-length video project with the magazine at once. Our issue 61 comes with a 19-minute film, all filmed with a VX and Hi8. In times of Instagram and extremely fast ways of having your footage being released, we as a team got together and worked on this video for about four weeks. Thaynan Costa, Hugo Maillard and Willem van Dijk came for a visit and every one of these guys killed it.
A big thank you to everyone involved, besides the lineup above this video features: Tjark Thielker, Timo Meiselbach, Nils Brauer, Jan Hoffmann, Paul Röhrs, Giorgi Armani, NSVC, Alex O’Donahoe, Peter Buikema, Deniz Bulgurcu, Daniel Pannemann, Roland Hoogwater, Valentin Cafuk, Alex Raeymaekers, Mats Edel, Jonas Heß & Danny Sommerfeld.
Filmed and edited by Peter Buikema.
Header-Photo by Henrik Biemer, Hugo Maillard BS Lipslide.
One week ago we flew into Copenhagen airport because we had been invited by Vans to Sweden to witness one of the most prestigious and well-known skate contests in the world, the Vans Park Series in Malmö.
There were at least two things that had aroused my enthusiasm about this event days before the whole thing actually took place: First of all, I have never been to Sweden, and secondly, I have never watched any bowl contest on a comparable level of skating before. It soon turned out that this event managed to measure up to my high expectations. The line-up was insane, the crowd hyped and the weather almost a little bit too sunny (for Sweden).
However, what was really striking me was the fact that nobody of the riders was wearing a helmet or at least knee pads at all (some of the women did), which I really liked because – let’s face it – it makes every trick look even heavier and way more stylish. A fact that unfortunately the youngest and smallest rider CJ Collins painfully had to pay for with a hard slam in the finals. Luckily, he did not get seriously injured (after the contest he skated on).
In the end, Alex Sorgente deservedly took the victory but the crowd’s favorite was clearly once again Malmö’s own Mr. Oskar Rozenberg Hallberg.
Photos & Text by Paul Röhrs
Happily, I received an invitation to beautiful Paris to join the launch party of the Hélas X adidas collaboration and even to meet one of my favorite skateboarders for a little chat. Not far from the more than well-known Place de la Republique I met Lucas Puig and his Hélas fellows Stéphen Khou and Clem Brunel at a nice restaurant in a smaller side street. After I had introduced myself to everyone and ordered some food and something to drink, Lucas and I took seat in a quieter part of the restaurant.
Interview & photos by Paul Röhrs
Hey, Lucas! First of all I have to admit that it is really an honor for me to meet you. Somewhere I might still have a poster from a Fourstar demo in Berlin years ago with your autograph on. So, I always have been a big fan and still am!
Oh, crazy! I’m appreciating man! Thanks!
Well then, let’s start with the basics! How are you?
I’m really good man! I can’t complain. I’m finally able to skate again, we have this collab with Hélas and adidas and yeah, I am happy to be here right now.
Nice to hear that! Since your knee is healing and getting better each and every day let’s briefly talk about this accident. What did actually happen?
Yeah sure! Well, I tore my same ACL already for the second time. So, I got the typical ACL surgery again and had to go through a lot of physical treatments for months.
I know from a friend that it can get complicated if you tear your ACL more than once.
Yeah, I mean as you see with a good surgery and rehab two times is still repairable, but I think I should try not to fuck with it for a third time. (Laughs)
How did it happen? Usually the worst things happen doing the easiest tricks.
Exactly man, I just tried to ollie a couch for a cool looking picture for my instagram. I put the couch in front of a little bump. Then I tried to ollie it once and I was like “man, this is harder then I thought”. So, I went a little faster and then my back foot got stock and I quite uncontrolled landed only on my front leg with all my weight on it and then it just snapped. So yeah, you always get hurt on the stupidest moments. So, watch out! Shit like this happens when you don’t really pay attention to what you do because you think it’s easy, you know.
When you were injured you, of course, weren’t able to skate, which is as everyone can imagine a very tough time. But, on your instagram it seemed like you were using your time out for some new activities. For example, you started surfing. Could one say, that there also is something positive about having the chance to step back from skating for a little while?
You know, when you are skateboarding all the time, the other life that exists around you is just paused. For example, I lost my driver license and actually needed it back again, but I just haven’t had the time to do so. When I hurt my knee, I was kind of forced to take this break that I also needed to finally do my paperwork and all the annoying “regular life” stuff. And when I was done with everything, I just needed to do something cool, you know!? Since I couldn’t skate I was like “man, what can I do to just be outside?” So I started fishing and stuff to be outside with my friends, instead of playing PlayStation all day.
How are your feelings about that Cliché is out of business now?
When I first got the news I was shocked man. I couldn’t believe it.
So, it was surprising for you, too?
Yeah, I mean for everybody! It wasn’t like they planned to shut down the company they just had to. So yeah, it was really sad and it took some time for me to realize it. You know, we all grew up together. I have been riding for Cliché since I was thirteen. I even had my first skate trip with them.
Yeah, and I mean you have been super loyal like you never even thought about taking the next better offer and switching to another board brand.
Yeah, since we all became really good friends it didn’t felt like business at all, and thus I always felt being at the right place even if there sometimes have been also tough moments. Now I think these 15 years have been the best time of my life, and although it is really hard to move on I am more than happy to have shared all these great experiences with them. So, I try to see it that way, you know.
Switch Fs Slappy Noseslide 270 – Place de la Republique
How does the new chapter of your life is going to look like? I can imagine that you already got plenty of offers on your desk right now. Will we see you being introduced on a new team soon or are you probably planning to start your own company like you already did with Hélas as a clothing brand?
No, I’m not going to start an own brand because Hélas is already enough of work. I already got some new offers on which I’m super stoked on, you know. I’m just going to take my time to do the right decision and then let’s write a new chapter and hopefully go for another 15 years!
Sounds good to me! Well, talking about Hélas, tell me about how this collaboration with adidas came about. Who had the idea first?
Well, of course, riding for adidas was the main reason that brought us the idea. We are always thinking about new collabs and this time it just took a couple emails and both sides were like “fuck yeah, let’s do it!” So, my friend started to work on some graphics and also adidas had some ideas and then we brought everything togther. Boom! Tennis style! I think this theme is fitting for both companies pretty well, too.
Do you have any other companies in mind you would like to collaborate with?
Yeah, for sure! There are a lot of stylish companies out there. But for now we are happy to have this one with adidas. So, we will be focusing on this one and maybe do a second one and then we’ll see what happens then.
Before Supreme collaborated with Lacoste, I always thought this would be cool with Hélas.
Yeah man, when we started Hélas and still were this little company we were like “Yeah, one day we will be working with Lacoste and shit like that!” (Laughs) It was our dream, you know. But now, Supreme already did it and I really like it. Who knows, maybe one day we will have a big collabo like this as well. But for now, as I said, I can’t be any happier. Adidas is big for us, you know, it’s insane!
Skating-wise, what is the next thing coming up for you?
We are going to work on some new Hélas edits for sure! And when I find a new board sponsor there will be something released for an introducing. I guess, it might not be a full video part but still something to look forward to for sure! You know, at first I just want be able to skate 100 percent and then I can focus on something proper.
You are already doing good on your instagram man! It’s incredible to see you skate like this as if nothing ever happened!
(Laughs) Yeah, but you know, it’s just instagram. There is no stress, it’s okay when I go slow and skate little curbs and shit like this.
Yeah, but still you keep it really creative!
Well, I guess I had too much time to think about new tricks! (Laughs) I always try to go forward and progress, you know.
Last but not least, what’s your latest French rap thing you became a fan of?
Kekra just released a new album and it’s really banging!
I even heard some rumors that we might see him tonight as secret act for the Hélas X adidas party?
(Laughs) Yeah, he might come! I don’t really know. (Blinks one eye)
So, you have some connection with each other?
Well, we start to have some, yeah!
Then I am curious for tonight! Thank you very much for your time and see you at the party!
You are welcome! See you later!
Last out of three “At Home With” Videos comes from the sunny south of France. Born in Paris, Edouard Depaz moved together with his family to Bordeaux when he was seven years old. Although he is currently living in Paris again, he warmly invited us to see the place he grew up skating. It turned out to be an unforgettable trip to one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Welcome to Bordeaux Zoo!
Featuring Edouard Depaz, Alex Richard, Victor Pellegrin, Francois Tizon, Pierre Patissou, Paul Röhrs and Vincent Dallemagne.
Photos by Paul Röhrs
Most people probably never heard Deo’s name before but the ones who do, know that he is somewhat of a character. When we were out in Essen working on our Europe Co. story, he stood out and sparked a friendship with our own #placemagpaule. Paul likes to talk and soon they started talking about life, with topics ranging from their day to day, near death experiences and future dreams these conversation provide us all with a look into Deo Katunga who is somewhat of an interesting cat.
You’re originally from Bulgaria. Please tell me about your journey that led you here.
I’ll try to make it short. Basically, I was completely over living in Bulgaria for a number of reasons. My initial plan was to try and win a bunch of the summer contests and dip out with the cash from them. That didn’t happen, plus I almost got killed on the way to one of ‘em. And at that point, I was like, “Damn I’m stuck for one more year.” And outta nowhere this dude that I kinda knew from the main spot we skate just came up to me and was like: “Yo, you wanna go to Germany?!” I told him I was hyped but didn’t have any cash. Then he said I could crash at his place till I figure some shit out and that he was going with a car so I could come free of charge. I was like, “Bro, for sure! When are we going?” And he said on Sunday. Keep in mind he tells me this on Thursday! So I pack all of my shit, ask my sponsors at the time if they could help out because I was going to Germany for a couple of months.
Who is supporting you over there?
Martin, the distributor of Polar in Bulgaria and owner of Amnesia skate shop, hooked me up with some boards. Mad love for that dude, the only shop owner in Bulgaria and anywhere that actually knows how to do shit correctly and treat his riders! Risto, the owner of Stinky Socks and distributor of Ashbury, gave me some cash, which is just one of the things that I can’t thank him enough for. Honestly, if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be me as I am now. He and his brother are both my first-ever legit sponsors that over time became my brothers and showed me that it’s perfectly OK to be the weird self that I am.
So then you had enough money to leave for Germany?
Yes, at the end I got like €120-160 and three or four boards and packed up all my shit and just left. After some trouble and weird situations that I can’t go into because it’s gonna be too long, I ended up going from Berlin to my sister’s place in Düsseldorf where I stayed for a little over a year and then moved to Essen where I am now.
Currently, you are sharing an apartment with Niels in Essen and you already had a part in the last Europe Co. video. How did you guys meet?
Actually completely random. I was skating the park in D-dorf when Daniel [Ruski] was like: “Yo, let’s go meet up with the other dudes and skate street.” I didn’t know all of the others but was like: “Yeah, for sure.” And Niels was there with his cam – as a side note, that was the first time I ever saw a VX1000 live. And we skated and filmed and he was like: “Yo, would you hyped on filming a small part?” To which I was like: “Fuck yeah! Let’s get it!” And a month or two later he wrote me on Facebook, if I’d be hyped on going to Dortmund to film and I just fare-dodged it on the train there and, yeah, that’s how it started. But back then Europe [Co.] wasn’t Europe [Co.] yet. It was just an idea and a handful of motivated guys.
You have a really tough job that also almost killed you once. Explain your job and the story again.
So I work for “United Paid Slaves,” better known as UPS and I move heavy boxes for three to four hours every morning from 4 to 8AM. Gotta wake up at 2:45AM, get the train at 3:09AM, ride for one hour to Dusseldorf main station and then 30 minutes via bike to my job. From Monday to Friday. What happened was that one day the conveyor belt had stopped and I had to walk on this really thin thing to a high point and move some boxes that were jammed. So I fixed it and on the way down there are these hook type metal things and I slipped and fell with my stomach directly on one of those things and it went into me but I stopped it with my hands and pushed myself out and fell on the ground. The thing came out with a bit of skin and left me a sketchy scar but I’m all good now.
You own a diary that you take with you every day wherever you go. What does recording every little experience mean to you?
Yeah, I started it a while back to write down my steps towards getting where I’m going. The thing is, I don’t write down every little experience – just those that really influence and affect my view on different things and the world as a whole. Also, days and situations that make me feel something really strong – doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. And spontaneous mad good ideas that just have to be done.
You play the guitar. You sing along to any song stuck in your head all day. One could say you would literally die without headphones. You paint and write on your clothes, you even designed the grip-tape of the used board I gave you. Tell me about your relationship to art.
Well, ever since I can remember I’ve been drawing and creating all sorts of stuff. From a very young age, my parents thought me how to do a lot of things like sewing, drawing, playing music, carpentry, electrical engineering, and a bunch of other things. I was just always interested in making and learning as much stuff as possible and my parents saw that and helped me with any questions I had. Later it became an outlet for all the emotions I had in me and that’s also where the writing came from. And even later on, it turned into me really not enjoying being compared to anyone else. Everything I own will have something changed on it so it fits me perfectly.
What kind of modifications are we talking about?
Sometimes it’s something little like a patch or just some text written on it. Sometimes I’ll go as far as to completely change the color of different clothes and to whipstitch them. It’s also a way of inspiring other people and creating different thought processes in them. Make them go like: “Oh, shit that’s sick! I hadn’t thought about it.”
We talked a lot about anything and everything. I noticed you are a quite educated and receptive person. Describe your personal perspective on the world to me. What does living mean to you and what do you want from life?
Duuude, this is hard to answer without getting lost in thoughts. What I think of the world is that it’s a beautiful fucked up insanely huge place full of all sorts of people. Where you can always learn something, there’s always something new to experience, see or evolve in. Living and life as a whole is a completely different thing. It has a lot to do with time and the fact that it’s the only thing you can’t buy or get back in any way. Every second is precious and a person should use it to the fullest. Nowadays, people waste their lives taking the “safe” route going to school then to university studying something they don’t really like because there’s jobs in that field. They completely throw away their dreams – if they have any, to begin with – and then work to have money to live the next month to work to have money to live to the next month. And so on, and so on. Nine-to-five emotionless robotic bullshit. Hey, if that’s what you really enjoy doing and what makes you truly happy that’s cool. But, what if you’re 45 and get laid off from the only thing you know how to do because that’s what you’ve been doing your whole life? You’re stuck with no job having wasted half your life on shit you fucking hated doing and thinking, “I should have done this, I should have done that.”
I don’t want to be on my deathbed thinking I’ve wasted even a second of this amazing thing called life. And I sure as hell prefer completely failing in something I truly love doing than completely failing in something I hate. People should stop searching for what to study and what to work. They should begin searching for a dream and what they are really passionate about doing. That way they’ll be 100000% more happy and better at what they’re doing because it will be with complete passion and love for it.
When we talked about books, we noticed that we like kind of the same literature. What was the last book you found especially worth reading?
Some people would think I’m just joking, but the Kamasutra is a book that absolutely has to be read by anyone over 17. You would think it’s only like a sex guide or something but it really is not. Of course, there are things like that in it but it’s a really small part. If you want to understand a bit more about life and people’s behavior, I really recommend this one.
I really liked your thoughts about why you would want to become a pro skateboarder. Can you bring them together again?
Okay, there are about three points. First, I want to get to a point in skating where I go to a spot, look at it and think, “Damn this would look sick here!” And instead of just saying it and leaving actually being able to do it. Second, I want to be able to go to my parents one day and ask them: “What do you want? And regardless of the answer just say, “OK” and give it to them. They’ve given me everything without having anything and that’s something incredibly amazing that I can’t be thankful enough for. And I want to get there with skating because it’s legitimately the one thing I cannot live without and can’t have enough of. I skate absolutely every single day and always feel that I haven’t skated enough. I want to be able to skate as much as possible every day not do anything else like work and shit. And if skating can give me enough to live off, and I don’t mean millions, then I will be the happiest person ever. Third, when you get to a certain point in pro skateboarding popularity you have a huge amount of influence on others and how they do and see things. You are the one dictating fashion trends, what tricks are cool to do, and so on. Which gives you the opportunity and responsibility to change something in this world to have an impact on the minds of a lot of people, especially the younger ones. And it will be amazing when I get there. I will use being pro to inspire others to inspire themselves. I will be there to say and show others: “Yo, you can achieve whatever you want in life. You shouldn’t limit yourself in any way. I made it and I came from nowhere having nothing.” I just try to be a positive role model. I don’t drink, smoke or do whatever. I’m just extremely excited and thankful for every new day and every moment that I can skate, evolve, and live on this planet.
What are your plans for the near and far future?
First, finish filming for autobahn and get all that stuff done. There are also a lot of other things happening lately so fingers crossed you’ll see a bunch of really sick stuff soon enough. Hopefully, I will find some people as hyped as I am so we can create stuff that will get others hyped. As for the far future, I’m really interested in seeing how much time it takes me to get where I’m going and how much of a difference I will make in the end. And of course, skate my freakin’ ass off! I’m out bro, gotta go skate and can’t sit here anymore!
Photos by Laura Kaczmarek
Interview by Paul Röhrs
When we came up with the idea to make an issue about the different approaches of how to portray or depict a person’s identity and character, we thought about the possibility of psychoanalysis early on. More precisely, we considered the method of personality tests seemed to be an interesting field for our concerns.
A person who, on the one hand, is primarily specialized in analyzing people, but on the other unfamiliar with our subject and the world of skateboarding, would probably offer a whole different perspective on a person’s character than interviews usually tend to do.
To lessen the ease of the task a bit, we chose a test person with a very unique appearing character: Giorgi Balkhamishvili. I have personally known Giorgi for a very long time now. We grew up together – I can only barely remember the times before we entered one another’s lives, and we always have remained very close friends. I would argue that Giorgi has a character that is very complex and thus hard to read, especially for someone not knowing him. Even today, although I have known him for so many years and am prepared for every unthinkable quirk of Giorgi’s infamous “five minutes,” he still manages to surprise me from time to time, causing me to ask myself once again if I really know him as well as I think I do. The funny thing is, I always have the feeling that Giorgi secretly enjoys these moments when his actions confuse people, particularly his close friends. Having said this, I was really curious about what this whole experiment would result in. I was interested in how the questions would look like and how precisely one would be able to draw conclusions from the answers.
The personality test we used contained 100 questions that one had to answer with one out of five levels of accuracy, from very accurate to very inaccurate. The questions all followed a similar pattern – They were rather short and aimed at deciphering, or revealing, different character traits: “Do you seldom daydream?” “When you hang out with a group of people, are you bothered by at least one of them?” “Do you know how to get around the rules?” “Do you have a dark outlook on the future?” On top, there were some cognitive ability questions included as well: “Miriam and Adam went fly fishing and caught 32 salmons. Miriam got three times more than Adam. How many did Adam get?” Due to the fact that the test was kind of more a self-assessment, the psychologist included a personal interview at the very beginning in order to get some background information on what sort of context Giorgi’s later answers would be based on. The whole procedure took about three hours and Giorgi patiently answered each question truthfully.
From my point of view, the result was amazingly close to what my own impression of Giorgi is. Moreover, which was less surprising for me than for the analyst, Giorgi’s personality results indeed ended up differing quite a bit from the so-called “average” person. But no worries, at the end of the session, he was allowed to leave the building without subjected to a white straightjacket!
Meeting Giorgi Armani
by Roos Cornelius, Psychology (Bsc), Philosophy of Social Science (BA)
I first met Giorgi Balkhamishvili on the 29th of May, in Berlin. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and countless amounts of pollen were wafting from tree to tree, declaring the end of Spring just as I arrived to the place where we would meet.
Giorgi told me he moved from Georgia to Berlin with his parents when he was only six months old. Growing up un a creative environment (both his parents are artists) and with the streets of Berlin as a background, he discovered skateboarding at the age of twelve. Although both his arms were bruised when we met, he described skating as a weightless feeling of endless possibilities. He was sure to let me know, before making a jump, he sometimes taps three times on the ground with his skateboard to prevent him from falling too hard. Giorgi also told me about how he does not drink alcohol, but that one time he drank four liters of beer in one night just to win a bet. Most interestingly, Giorgi admitted that he likes to play with the idea of being in prison – a curious desire for someone who has never even committed a felony… At least, as of yet. One might wonder what character could be behind such thoughts. In the following section, I will attempt to capture a glimpse of Giorgi’s personality.
Inside Giorgi Armani
by Roos Cornelius, Psychology (Bsc), Philosophy of Social Science (BA)
To assess Giorgi’s personality, I used an online personality test. Just as most personality tests, it focuses on the basic dimensions of one’s personality, such as extraversion, honesty, and emotional stability. Although a personality test is never flawless, this semi-scientific inventory is designed to be objective. Hence, the results may not necessarily be flattering to whom the data concerns. What secrets could it reveal about Giorgi’s personality?
First of all, the test indicated that he possesses some very admirable character traits. His results show that he scored exceedingly high on modesty. This means his personality bestows him with a humble attitude, both toward others and toward his own accomplishments. In addition, Giorgi scored high on compassion. Compassion is characterized by the ability to recognize the emotions of others. The result suggested that he might be sensitive to social conflicts that exist in his surroundings. Giorgi’s results also indicated that he has a strong capacity to feel sympathy for others.
Another interesting hint we may take from the test results concerns the fact that Giorgi scored curiously low on honesty. This indicates that he might be prone to mislead others, especially those who represent considerable authority. This also suggests that he tends to be less troubled by rule-breaking behavior. He might also be considered more creative, since he is less concerned with following established rules. Giorgi also scored particularly low in the realm of conscientiousness. His results implied that he has a tendency to live in the moment and to act on what feels good. He does not pay much attention to detail and probably has a laid back attitude in general. As a result, some might perceive him as a little careless, maybe even disorganized.
Lastly, Giorgi scored remarkably high on boldness. Boldness represents the ability to face uncertain or even threatening situations with confidence. His results suggested that he is able to face uncertain circumstances with emotional stability. Some emotionally stable individuals may go as far seeking out thrilling situations, because they perceive these situations to be less threatening than most people.
To conclude, I would say Giorgi has a creative personality that tends to avoid rules, but one that yearns to take risks. His character consists of qualities that seem to be ever in search of the next jump, the next thrilling moment, before looping back touching solid ground again.
The test that was used for this article is part of the online SAPA Project, initiated by William Revelle (Northwestern University, Illinois). The test can be found on www.sapa-project.org
The test was quite intense. I had to think about questions that I usually wouldn’t have bothered myself with. In the end, I had the feeling that my hair had turned grey. Ain’t shocking. – Giorgi Armani
As I was waiting in front of the HVW8 Gallery in Berlin to meet Jerry Hsu for the first time in my life, I again went over the notes I had written on a rumpled piece of paper. I knew I had to ask the right questions in order to get a deeper impression of who Jerry is and how his mind functions. It began to rain and I had to take cover inside of the gallery, where some of Jerry’s expressive photos had already been hung up on the white walls, while others still were packed in boxes. While looking around, I felt like the whole room was filled with love, while also charged with related but at the same time totally opposite feelings of sadness, and even hints of quiet pain. On one side of the gallery, an adorable naked girl was portrayed sitting in a tub, while on the other side, a man on a lonely street was captured throwing away a fresh bunch of flowers into a trash can while walking by. Somehow Jerry seems to have an eye for quiet and mundane scenes that, on a closer inspection, depict a much deeper theme than what might appear at first glance.
As it turned out, the photography already told me much about Jerry’s character. He is a friendly and calm type of person who was once described by Marc Johnson as “cool breeze”. What was struck me was the way in which he he answered my questions with focus, self-reflection, and consideration. I had initially planned to do an interview that would focus mostly on Jerry’s photography, but as soon as I touched upon the topic of skateboarding, the conversation was guided by Jerry’s excitement in this direction as well.
When we were done with the interview, Danny shot some portraits of Jerry with what seemed like an ancient Polaroid camera. Both photographers naturally started to do some kind of nerd-talk about all sorts of cameras, after which we embarked on a little walk through Berlin, following Jerry as he tried to shoot something with Danny’s Polaroid that we could use for this article. Unfortunately, the camera died after the first shot, but seeing how carefully Jerry scans his environment and searches for motives in order to capture an image was a one-of-a-kind experience.
Interview by Paul Röhrs
Photos by Danny Sommerfeld
Having seen former exhibitions of yours, like “A Table For One,” in which you depict people eating alone, can you describe what your current exhibition, called “A Love Like Mine Is Hard To Find” is concerned with?
This exhibition is sort of a mixture of both my old and new photography, as it is a mixture of my street photography and the kind of the more intimate, sentimental portraits that I do like of my wife, friends and other people. You know, I tried to give the whole thing a certain mood, which is a more sentimental one. I would say it is kind of like a diary, which depicts just my daily life. But furthermore, I wanted to give it a feeling. So it is kind of somber and also kind of a little bit humorous, too, which both I feel like are themes that are in my photos a lot and I just wanted to do a broad sort of exhibition about those things.
If you don’t mind, I would like to get more into detail with this. Tell me some more about the work process. What I am especially interested in is how you decide the moment when you feel like you are finished? You know, because in my imagination, it is really difficult to find a point at which to end a project like this.
Well, for this kind of project I did not shoot anything new specifically for it. So all the photos already existed and I looked at a large selection and tried to find a story in the photos. I kind of looked at the space and just tried to fill it up with just the right amount, you know, like not too much and not too little. So the process of this show is more like in the theme, finding the photos the work well together to send the message that I want to send. So that is how it works as far as like taking the photos, which of course is a totally different process.
So the message is a really personal one?
Yeah, it is like about my love or my obsession with my environment or all the things around me and I tried to interpret those things in a way that hopefully will make sense.
Would you say photography changed the way you perceive the world around you, or did you always have the same way of looking at things and now you just take photos of it/them?
Yeah, I think the photographs are just a manifestation of how I see the world. But let’s say photography has also made me more aware of my environment and it made me more thoughtful about the potential of small things. You know, I try to photograph this a lot, things that are small or settled but that have a life of their own.
What does a situation need in order for you to hit the shutter release on your camera? What inspires you?
I don’t really know! (Laughs) It is funny because I just really try to work on instinct. So a lot of it is just guesswork. Sometimes from a hundred photos that I take there is probably only one that is something I really like. I would say it is a combination of luck, anticipation and hope. I just sort of look around and I kind of know what I like. But sometimes it ends up shit or stupid. (Laughs) You never know what’s going to work so you just have to try a lot and figure it out later. So editing is very important, too, in all forms of art. Not everything you do is going to be good. So you also have to be able to choose what is good. You know what I mean?
Since we always present a concept within every print issue, this one is going to be concerned with the different techniques of how to portray the character of a person. We thought about the idea that in photography, when someone shoots a picture of a scene or even another person, the photographer his or herself is also transmitting his or her own character across into the photo. Would you say this is right? Do you sometimes see your own character within a picture you have taken?
I hope so! (Laughs) Well, I think that that is sort of objective. You know, you always want to create a story or a feeling when you make work like this and usually as a photographer that’s you because it is about you and what you are putting into all this stuff. So one of the most important parts of making art is being able to, well, not inject but sprinkle yourself in. But be settled because you don’t want to be too heavy handed. You know, just sort of gently put yourself into the work. Yeah, that is definitely important to me. So, I have to really stare at stuff and really think about whether it might work for me or not.
Do you think someone has to be born with certain innate talents or character traits in order to be a good photographer, or is it something that can be achieved through practice?
I think a little bit has to do with what you are born with but most of it is just decisions you make in your life. You know, because for me I was more interested in art and stuff when I was very young, probably when I was in grade school. And then becoming a skateboarder you are exposed to so many different types of people, artists, photographers and, you know, just this whole world every skateboarder understands. I think it is mostly about the path you go on in life. I think everyone has a lot of potential but it just depends on their choices in life and in what direction they want to go. I mean for me I just really went for it, you know. I just really experimented and found out that this is something I really enjoyed. So it is less about genetics but more about temperament and personality. I know a lot of people that are great, have great eyes but they don’t want to put themselves out there like that, which is fine, too.
So you mean that the circumstances formed your profession as well as the people you met along the way?
Yeah, I mean you can meet one person in your life and that totally can change your whole perspective about anything, art or work or like whatever, you know.
So you met the right guys and made the right decisions in life?
Yeah, I think so! (Laughs)
Could you name some people that have influenced you in doing what you do today?
Yeah, just from being a skateboarder you naturally meet a lot of photographers and they taught me how to use cameras and they showed me other photographers and so on. I would say, for example, that people like Ed Tempelton were very influential just because he was a skater who also was very interested in and also made a lot of art and photography that then again was interesting to me. So he really inspired me to keep going and moreover to explore that part of my life. He also taught me that my life does not have to be just skateboarding and that I can do so much more with it.
With exhibitions like this one, you kind of changed your status from being a professional skateboarder to being known as a photographer. How did this change of profession come about, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of being a photographer over being a skateboarder?
Well, I would actually say that I still see myself as a professional skateboarder more than a photographer actually. There definitely were times in my life where skateboarding has been less important, but as this particular time it is very important to me. I am filming for a new video and so I am very focused on it. Although, being a photographer is very important to me, too, skateboarding is definitely right now taking a priority. But I don’t really know how much longer that will last because, you know, I am just getting tired. I just can’t really skate on that level that much longer I think, although it would be nice. Becoming a photographer was also a dream of mine, and I am very lucky and fortunate today to even get the opportunity to dip my toes into the water. You know what I mean? I would not have considered myself to be a professional photographer, but rather say that I am just a guy who takes photos and is lucky enough to do stuff like this.
What are you currently filming for?
Oh, I am filming for a new Emerica video. It is kind of a smaller one and it will be done this fall. It’s me, Spanky, Andrew Reynolds, Brian Herman and Figgy. So that’s what I’ve been working on for a couple of years. It has been really awesome but at the same time really hard. It is funny, because for a long time I kind of wasn’t really interested in skateboarding anymore. I just kind of fell off and I think I needed to do that. You know? And when they asked me like if I want to be in this video I was like “yeah, let’s try it!” That actually kind of reinvigorated me. You know, it was so cool because I just felt like a kid again watching skate videos, trying to find spots and making lists of tricks. It was great, you know, like skating was new to me again. It was my rebirth! So I am really happy about this project because it gave me back something I had lost for a while.
Is it also motivating for you that it might be one of, or probably even the last, part?
That is hard to say, but this part has been really hard to do because I want to skate on a certain level but my body just can’t do what it used to do. So I would say that this might be kind of the last part that is on a certain level of skating. You know, I might film for more parts but I am not sure if I could do this again because this one has been pretty tough and I am still working pretty hard for it. But at the same time, I don’t know, let’s assume next year someone were to be like “Oh, we want you to film another video part.” I don’t know if I want to just be like “Sorry, I can’t do this no more because I can’t do what I did before.” However, I guess it would be kind of nice in any profession to stop when you are at your best. But at the same time it is hard to notice when you once you have reached this point.
Well, for those who do not know, my name is Paul and I am working for PLACE since nine months now. So one might say I am still pretty new to the game. Nevertheless, I got my nickname “Placemagpaule” right at my first day at the office and it even developed to a frequently used hashtag on Instagram.
The coolest thing about my job is that I need to travel from time to time and as I have not really been around a lot before, most of the time, I go to see places I have never been before. This also applies for Copenhagen. So as Benni told me that one of us got invited by Levis Skateboarding to join the CPH Open series and asked me if I would like to go there, I of course did not hesitate.
I stayed in Copenhagen for four days and I can say it is indeed a very beautiful city, which is not well-known for its quality of life for no reason. Besides the great architectural mix between old and new, the proximity to the sea, the good food and the friendly and open-minded mentality of the local residents Copenhagen also offers an uncountable number of skate spots. Moreover, most of the people in Copenhagen seem to enjoy or at least to tolerate skateboarding. The best example therefor is that one of the CPH Open events took place inside the historical city hall of Copenhagen, which would just be unthinkable in any other country I have ever been to.
Unfortunately, I had bad luck with the weather conditions, which is why I could not be outside as much as I would have liked to. But still, there were enough moments I took off the lens cover of my Canon AE-1 and hit the shutter release. So welcome to the first episode of my personal Placemagpaule travel recaps!
Text & Photos by Paul Röhrs
On top: Brad Cromer – Fs Flip
One day before the new radioskateboards video “Late but Short” premiers in Berlin, I decided to meet company founder and also long-time buddy Arne Krueger in his office in Berlin, Kreuzberg. Although we rarely meet, Arne received me very kindly with his typical loud voice and his Berliner accent.
After he had shown me his office, we naturally started to talk about the progress of his company. Quickly I noticed that many things have changed since the last video, which was “Radio Active Kids” (2009), but the spirit behind the brand radioskateboards remained totally the same. As I began to ask Arne some questions about the new video, he surprisingly offered me to have a glimpse on it, which I of course would not have refused to do!
“Late but Short” is a motley project with footage by many film makers and presents a very diverse team. My personal favorite might be the part of Sami Harithi, who is just killing it accompanied by a track of a very infamous German rap artist from Berlin. I swear, it could not be more fitting! In short, if you have the chance to be in Berlin tomorrow evening you should not miss the Radio video premiere at SO36.
Tomorrow finally the long-awaited Radio video “Late but Short” premieres. Are you nervous already?
Nope, I have already seen it. (Laughs) For sure I am nervous! Let’s see how things will work out. I am curious about it. I have not seen the final version yet. It is still on its way from Chile to us. I am excited how the video will appeal to the people because it certainly is not a second “Radio Active Kids” but rather a really solid skate video. I like it a lot!
Did you have problems with the production process of the video?
As it is a skateboard video, we of course had lots of problems! (Laughs)
Malte Spitz – Wallie No Comply
I remember the premiere of “Radio Active Kids” at Festsaal Kreuzberg in 2009. Then the whole team drove by in a limo, exploding fireworks, police action, road barricades… What can we expect this time?
6,66 Euros entrance fee! (Laughs) Well, we all more or less reached adulthood, which not necessarily mean we got much smarter but at least we got a bit calmer. Apart from that, you can expect one hell of a party, a gnarly skate video and pleasant guests!
Since the last video the team has changed quite a lot. Can one recognize also familiar faces in the new video?
Absolutely! There will be a full montage including Nino Ullmann, Flo Bodenhammer, Vincent Golly and Maxim Rosenbauer. These are the ones who are more or less doing their own thing now. They of course still skate now and then and will always have a place in the Radio Family.
Years ago, I saw you ripping through the mini ramp at Bernd’s Wohnzimmer (a former skate hall in Berlin that does not exist anymore). Are you also represented in the video?
Yes, my pecker is briefly shown! (Laughs) Certainly against my will. The idea was not mine!
Why does Sami Harithi still skate with the fitness of an 18-year-old? What do you put into his meals?
“Arne hat mir Speed gegeben!” (“Arne has given me speed!” – Quote from Radio Active Kids) (Laughs) No, of course not! I personally think Sami has an unbelievable inner fire that keeps him motivated for forever. He is the guy you will still watch cruising down the street in front of your house in 30 years from now. I am very happy to see him skate that good and I can speak for everybody, if I say that we are all proud to have him on the team.
Describe the new video in three words.
Late but short! (Laughs)
Interview by Paul Roehrs
When we arrived at the Nike Store located at Ku’damm, we had our iced coffee’s ready. The sun was out and spirits high up. Nike gave us the possibility to do the city tour that we always wanted to do. Not once did we drive past tourist traps like Unter den Linden, but we got to see skate tourist locations like Kulturforum and others. Our hosts were telling us about the ABD’s, while at the same time hollering at almost every person we drove past.
Three spots were on our menu – when we got to the first spot (Spot der Visionäre) the show really seemed to start. Not just for us as skaters but for all to see.
The best thing about the Nike SB bus tour was that it not only showed skaters around the city, it showed other people the many ways skaters use the city. Win-win situation.
Spot 1: Valentin Ott (Spot der Visionäre)
Spot 2: Casper Brooker (Gleisdreieck)
Spot 3: Quirin Staudt (Nationalgalerie)
Es gibt nichts Gutes, außer man tut es.
Dieser Satz ist mir während meiner Zeit bei der PLACE besonders im Gedächtnis geblieben. Irgendwie ist er auch nur eine andere Art zu sagen „haters gonna hate“ – und was könnte treffender für die PLACE sein? Ihr habt es immer wieder geschafft zu überraschen, deshalb hoffe ich auf viele weitere Ausgaben, in der Skateboard Culture ihren Platz findet. Alles Gute zur 50. Ausgabe – auf die nächsten 50!
Wie? Noch mehr? Die Antwort ist Ja, denn wenn Daewon Song einen Battle Commander filmt, muss das noch schnell raus.
Das Team vom Titus Berlin haben dem berühmten Schwimmbad in der Hauptstadt einen letzten Besuch abgestattet, bevor die Bagger das Ding dem Erdboden gleich machen. Pascal Reif, Ilja Judizki, Reik Manig und weitere liessen sich diese Session nicht entgehen.
Lange keine Fs Nollie Heelers mehr gemacht? Dann mach Gehirnjogging mit Paul Röhrs, der uns gerne zeigt, wie man den Trick sauber ausführt.